Friday, March 11, 2011

9 Reasons Why We Don't Believe in Religion

Here are a collection of 9 reasons to help the religious understand why we don't buy into their belief systems. This is neither all encompassing nor to be taken as some finalized mission statement. I wouldn't consider this the most compelling list I could write, but it hits a fair number of things and does a few of them decently.

1. If there does exist out there a god and/or multiple gods, where did it/they come from? Is it/are they eternal, or is/are it/they finite in nature? If they are finite where did they come from? How did we ever come to know about them? If a god is supposed to be the answer for "who or what created the universe?" (not at all a satisfactory or likely answer as I see it) then we're no better off, since we've just answered a mystery with another mystery. The answer of "god" has no real explanatory power. it answers nothing. The fundamental question of how is still very much open.

2. There are many competing religions in the world, and each of them claim to be the truth. And it is not as though one could reasonably make the case that they are all aberrations of a central truth. The are major fundamental differences, differences spanning such basic questions as is there but one god, or are there multiple? Even within one religion there are multiple and severe disagreements. Christianity's fractured form exemplifies this beautifully. How many different denominations of Christianity are there? According to THIS website, approximately 38,000. Yes, thirty eight thousand Christian denominations!

3. The Bible, the Qur'an and the Bhagavad Gita, among others, are supposed holy books that appear to the non believer to be just that- books; however, it is posited by believers worldwide that these books are more than they would at first seem. The claim that one or more of them are indeed "holy," aka the written word of some creator god(s) or another, is believed by the majority of the world. All of them make bold claims, even to go so far as to make miraculous claims, yet none of them has any real extraneous evidence in support of them. Then you factor in the borrowed stories, the scientifically invalidated tales, and the self defeating qualities ascribed to their deities (like omniscience and omnipotence, among others).

And anyone else notice how damn human these gods are? Something about these perfect, eternal, omni-everything deities being so anthropomorphized and having moralities that line up so well with the people of the time period in which the books were written seems to me to be, oh, I don't know, rather telling......It would be like if I wrote a 'holy' book all about my....revealing experience with god, named magx01, who loves death metal, is supportive of gay rights (in fact, whose other views that line up mostly on the liberal side of the political spectrum) and who despises organized religion, pushes critical thinking and skepticism, says there is no such thing as hell, and does not wish to be worshiped.

4. Never, at least on Earth (and not talking quantum theory here) have we ever witnessed the suspension of natural laws for any period of time, yet these ancient books claim that they were suspended and broken many times. And we're supposed to accept this based on orally handed down (over years and years and years) anecdotes which were transcribed and published in the form of a book? All with no outside, objective evidence, and no way to test these claims. Already, the more astute of my readers will already be able to see an emergent pattern, and it's one that will likely be shared by most, if not all atheists: the feeling of there being rather insufficient evidence for these extraordinary claims. As Carl Sagan once famously said, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Some theists try to dispute this notion, but its a basic premise that we all (well, most of us) accept (and rightfully so!), and this can be easily demonstrated with a simple example:

What would you more readily believe based on my word: “I walked to work this morning, and along the way I ate an apple?” Or “I walked to work today and along my way I was abducted by aliens?” To the 99% of you (or am I being too optimistic here?) who say the first one, I say, see? To the other (I hope only) 1%, I say you're either full of shit, or you're the most credulous people I could ever imagine and please do not procreate or have jobs that give you any sort of power, especially politics. Stay the fuck away from politics. Oh, and weapons. And debate. .....fuck it, just stay the fuck home and don't procreate or interact with anyone, in any way. Ever. At all. I wouldn't advocate killing yourself, but I don't think I'd frantically object either. Do I feel bad saying that? Yes. Do I truly mean it? No....mostly. I'm being (somewhat) facetious to make a point.

5. Most of the world’s religions were created before the onset of modern science, and consequently, the scientific method. During the Bronze age and other eras (including antiquity and pre-recorded history), people did not know how much of the world around them operated. Due to this ignorance, supernatural explanations were posited for the things witnessed in the natural world. How would gods, who created everything, get things factually wrong? Were these gods limited by the intellect of the people who existed in the time in which they made their big revelations? If so, why the fuck did they choose to do their revelations then? Did they not see the Enlightenment, and tools like the internet, coming? Seriously, how much better could these gods have done spreading their message if they had made use of things like YouTube, Twitter (ugh), Facebook, and the like? Seriously, god would have been made a YouTube partner in a day. Then he could have sold tshirts and books containing transcripts of his top 20 million plus viewed YouTube videos, including that one awesome refutation of an old Amazing Atheist video, you know that one where he screamed for a few minutes then flashed his man titties? God hated that one!

6. The problem of evil and suffering. I would (could, and do) argue/draw contention with the idea that “sin” is simply a result of humanity's flaws, but for, the sake of this blog post and point, let's accept this. Okay, “sin” is due to the flawed nature of humanity (flawed yet created by a perfec- okay, not going there). Even if people were incapable of “sinning”, "evil" would still exist (earthquakes, hurricanes, diseases, birth defects, animal attacks, accidents, etc.). If the perfect, all-knowing, and all-powerful god(s) love(s) humans and the world so much, why do people and creatures suffer, if God(s) has/have the power to stop it? In some religions, the “creator(s)” made a place where people, who, in one way or another, were not deemed worthy of eternal paradise (or eternal worship) suffer for all eternity in the afterlife. Infinite punishment for finite transgressions. Wow, that's the plan conceived of and enacted by an infinitely just, moral god? Give me a fucking break, people.

7. If God(s) is/are perfect, why did he create the universe in the first place? A perfect being is completely self-sufficient, and would not need servants, or angels, or even need to create the universe. A being wanting for anything cannot, by definition, be perfect. Of course, this does not invalidate any theologies that do not posit a perfect deity, just those that do, Which, incidentally, is basically all of the major ones. Yippee for me, more blogging material!! Keep that shit comin', folks, everything that sparks a retaliatory post takes me one small step closer to my ultimate goal of taking over the internet, baby!

*unrelated aside/digression here. If you desire to skip it, please skip to point won't be missing much......*

Speaking of taking over the internet, as of this writing I have 18 followers here on the Blogger service. Not bad for a no name blogger just starting out in January. Still, this is small fucking potatoes compared to some of the blogs out there with hundreds and thousands (even hundreds of thousands!!) of followers.....the bastards. Actually, some of them are really great, and are quite deserving of the popularity. Others, however, not at all, and it actually irritates me. I just came across one of the most popular political blogs in the world, in my search for the most popular blogs, and this blog put me to shame in terms of post count/frequency. I thought my blogging pace was crazy, but this blog had over 5 thousand (yes, 5 THOUSAND) posts this year. We're right around the halfway mark, which puts them on pace for 10,000 blog posts this year, whereas I will have, if I remain stable in terms of pace, around 250 blog posts for the year.

So what's the catch, and why the irritation?

Well, this super mega Godzilla popular, post crazy political blog, (which must make a shitload of money, as the hit counter was at over 300 MILLION hits, and the blog had many ads AND (two) donate buttons!!) doesn't really strike me as a blog so much as it does a news story archive, as all of the posts I saw were just links to news stories with a small excerpt.....AND NO FUCKING COMMENTARY!!!! What the FUCK is the point of THAT? He/she/they is reporting on news stories.....without adding any fucking commentary!! And so, as is becoming the story of my life, this other body of ''work'' is and will always be, far, far, far, FAR more popular than mine, attract MANY more comments (and therefore start many more conversations) and make much, much, much more money than mine.

*sigh* Just like other places I have been and/or seen, the person doing the most work is NOT necessarily the person attaining the most feedback/reward. I can post a 3-5 thousand word entry that took 3 hours to write up, and get a couple of views, a comment or two if I am lucky (quite often zero) and no money (anyone wondering, no, I do not blog for me. I've made $11 in 6 months lol....the comments are the thing I lust after the most. I want to engage people), and on the same day, this blog (and tons more like it) can post a link and an excerpt, something that took 3 minutes to post, and get several hundred views, 30 comments, and probably make $1-3 from ads and such (that's a guess). Or, alternatively, someone will post 10- 20 pics of half naked chicks and get the same, or even more (quite likely more). Been down that road as well.

I really love blogging. I have really taken to it since I began doing it in September of last year, and I do it for its own sake. If I did not, I would have quit already. However, I do believe that anyone saying that they don't lust after views, comments, and sometimes money, has to be lying or fooling themselves. Okay, maybe not anyone, but I am sure the vast majority of bloggers can't honestly say that they do not wish for more than 0 views, 0 comments, and 0 dollars. I know I can't.

Luckily, I have a few people who care enough to read my content, some who are moved enough (I don't mean moved in the emotional sense; I don't have an inflated opinion of the effect of my least I certainly hope I do not) to actually comment (and quite often the comments are very good, and always appreciated) and there have been people who have seen relevant ads on my blog and have been moved (there's that word again) to click them, thereby inadvertently offering me a tiny bit of monetary compensation for the hours of my free time I, by choice, of course(!), sink into this endeavor, which is an endeavor that is for the world as much as it is for me.

Seriously, without trying to sound like I am exalting myself to some high status, I really aim to try and do my (extremely miniscule) part to help spread critical thinking, logic, reason, rationality, a small bit of philosophical and (more so) scientific knowledge, and skepticism (as well as a dash of cynicism, which I should apologize for but won't lol) to the world, as I feel that there are parts of the world in which the Enlightenment seems to almost have been forgotten, and it feels as though there are people who WANT it to be forgotten, and who want to undo it.

*end of the completely unrelated and unplanned (yep, completely spur of the moment) rant*

8. Speaking directly about Christianity now, despite the fact that one of the 10 commandments states, quite plainly (and directly), “Thou shalt not kill”, there are many exceptions to this in the Bible (Mosaic law is the excuse, but it's the same omniscient god with an absolute morality, is not?). Adulterers and even unruly children are to be stoned. ‘Witches’ were executed in several cruel ways. Atheists and people who had followed the wrong religions were to be killed. So contradictory for a perfect being. People use god as an argument against moral relativity, yet god himself displays that his morality is changing, ie not absolute or objective. If his morality is absolute than slavery is a-okay.

9. Why are so many people unhappy and unfulfilled? It seems like for all of the religion on the Earth, there's very little (if any) of the promised peace or whatever. Think of all of the unanswered prayers. The people who tithe and worship and follow this morally perfect worldview. Are they objectively any better off? According to poll data, no, not particularly. The benefits offered by religion are transient and non exclusive. This flies in the face of all of the religion=bliss/morality/etc claims.


  1. This is going to make you laugh, but one of the random advertisements on your blog at the moment is Hahahahah! Quite funny considering you were talking about ads.


    You already stated that this isn't the most compelling blog, and I'm here to tell you that you were correct in your assumption about your own material.

    Unfortunately most of your reasons here speak mostly to specific religions, and often times completely avoid others. This is most likely due to your lack of knowledge on many religions (there are far too many out there), and the fact that the major religions (Christianity, Islam), are so huge that they cover a vast majority of the religious.

    1. Not really a reason not to believe. It just places the eternity of existence somewhere else (a god), rather than "physical" existence itself. They already assume more of existence than what is "physical" (spiritual, etc), so this is really low on the hierarchy of (many) religious beliefs. However, this is not really a reason to believe either.

    2. Many competing "theories/hypothesis" isn't really a reason not to believe. There being nil evidence is a reason, however. And none really stand out more than any other.

    3. I feel this is a sub-set of your second reason, so my response remains the same.

    4. Many people claim "it takes faith". This is reason enough for many who have been raised in their religion from birth. Also, many people have attributed some of their own experiences as supernatural in nature, based on said religious beliefs. These experiences are considered "evidence", so its not a stretch for them to believe it to be true (after all they did experience them). And often times personal experience overrides pretty much everything else. For example, if someone thought they were really abducted by aliens (via sleep paralysis/etc), they might have believed your own example of being abducted. So while I see your reasoning, it doesn't really work for (most of) the religious.

    5. This kind of goes along with my response to your fourth reason. In their minds, they believe this stuff to be true, and that the evidence does exist. Some people even claim to have magic powers and believe it (for example, voodoo), and profess their own experiences as true. So its not really a huge leap to believe that their ancient texts are telling the truths about supernatural events.

    6. I don't really see this as a reason against many religions. Perhaps only a handful of Christian denominations. The typical response is that suffering is not necessarily bad, considering that this life time is short compared to eternity.

    7. "Perfect" is an ambiguous word, really. Its not wise to assume your "perfect" is the same as another person's "perfect", especially when debating "god" which is already an ambiguous term as well. While it wasn't necessary for a "perfect" god to create all of this, you could always ask "why not?" The answer could simply be "just because."

    8. Its typically interpreted as "you shall not murder". Murder being unlawful acts of killing. Obviously if god killed them, it was lawful, as god is considered the law in their religion. And any commands of god to kill is not considered murder either. To clarify, the word used is "ratsach", which can mean either or. Thus the ambiguity. And therefor being considered as "murder" considering the context is more likely (or at the very least a good excuse).

    9. Because most religions profess that total fulfillment and happiness comes in the after life. However, some people do perceive fulfillment or happiness via their religions. And in many ways its also used as a way to feel better about many of life's events (ie: death).

  2. Wow, thanks for the great comment. I'll be responding to this in detail when I have time, hopefully tonight but if not the next day or so for sure. I'll PM you on GT when I do.

  3. I'll just respond to the things I most strongly object to:

    4) Personal experience is necessarily first person and can only be convincing to those who experienced it. No one should expect a first person experience to be convincing to a third party. Especially when said experience is said to have involved a phenomenon like the dead coming to life.

    6. [b]I don't really see this as a reason against many religions. Perhaps only a handful of Christian denominations.[/b]

    You've said this a few times now, and I understand why. It's a valid objection. However, suffice it to say that whenever I make a statement that seems narrow in scope in terms of the variations of belief, assume that I am aware of this and speaking to that particular subset :)

    I could have done a better job elucidating this tendency of mine, but I figured it was self evident. Or I forgot (I often do make such declarations at the start of a blog). I can't remmeber which is true here.

    7. Perfect is not as ambiguous as you posit, in my view. I think we have a consensus on a few main points, at least, one of which is that a perfect entity is wanting for nothing, since it has everything. A being that has wants is incomplete, and an incomplete being is obviously imperfect. I think that's pretty straightforward.

    I may be unaware of a greater confusion over the definiton of perfect, of course.

    8. Absolutely not. It [b]clearly[/b] states kill. That is undeniable. This is supported by Jesus' teachings in the New Testament. Turn the other cheek, and all of that.

    Besides, the greater point I was making is that god's morality changed from the OT to the NT. An objective morality is unchanging.

    9. I was referring more to the claims made by believers and aplogists, more so than the claims made in any specific theological text. It's stated by many an evangelical that atheists are miserable, and this malaise can be cured by joining their particular religion.

    As far as the death claim goes, I'd say you're right, on the surface of it, but then I think of the grieving process, and how it doesn't appear to be any different amongst say xians and atheists, and I wonder. Then again, the 'looking down on me from above' is quite often a source of comfort, true or not.

    Thanks for the great comment!

  4. Oh, forgot to add, this list was meant to be taken together as a whole. No one of these would be a compellign reason for disbelief in a god. It's more a list of a few things that don't make much sense or don't pan out when you examine them. None of them alone would be valid in my eyes as a basis for an atheistic worldview.

    To me, the most basic and legitmate basis for atheism is a sketical worldview. In short, show me the evidence! What has thus far been purported to be an evidenciary basis for theism has been insufficient. It basically boils down to some stories, emotional manipulation and experiences, and arguments from ignorance involving the origins of life and/or the universe.

  5. 4. I agree. I wasn't necessarily objecting, but rather commenting here.

    6. Fair enough. Now that you clarified, I will make the assumption next time. :)

    7. "Perfect" is ambiguous. Because it exists solely to describe an ideal. Someone could just as easily say that having desire is perfect, and not having desire is imperfect.

    8. You should take a look at these links:

    But you're right about your greater point. The morality does seem to shift. There are a lot of "reasons" (aka: excuses) for this. None that really matter or make much sense. So you're right on that one.

    9. Ah, I see what you're saying. Yes, somehow people seem to think that atheists or anybody that is not of their religion are miserable or whatever. It makes no sense whatsoever, other than their egos are inflated and probably should be punched in the face.

    Yes, its a matter of state of mind, really. A "placebo" if you will. Or, rather, there is a psychological definition for this but I can't seem to recall the word. Either way, the same can be said about any "security blanket" thought process, religious or not.


  6. Just saw your last comment.

    I know. :) I guessed as much considering your initial statement before your 9 reasons were stated.


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